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Ramadan Social Media Trends | by VOLT LAB

Ramadan is a unique time in the Arab world both online and offline. Consequently, what brands know about their community’s behaviour during much of the year may not apply during the Holy Month as peak activity times are likely to move and engagement to increase. Therefore, observe and take note of social media trends happening within your communities this Ramadan in order to align your publishing times with your audience and maximize engagement this year.

This report was compiled by VOLT LAB - a marketing agency specialised in branding and digital marketing. For more info visit www.voltlab.com

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Ramadan Social Media Trends | by VOLT LAB

  1. 1. SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS DURING RAMADAN ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MIDDLE EAST
  2. 2. SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS
  3. 3. MARKET OVERVIEW ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Salient trends during Ramadan 20% of media spend Amount of money brands dedicate to reach their customers during Ramadan $200 million marketing Top 4 telecom companies spend in Middle East during Ramadan 30% increase Usage of social media such as Facebook during Ramadan 200% average growth Nescafe’s Facebook page engagement growth during Ramadan month’s in 2012 100,000 followers Zain’s integrated campaign during Ramadan saw an increase of 100,000 followers on Twitter 190% increase in Tweeting Number of tweets reach 215 million in 2014, compared to 74 million in 2013 Source: TOP – theonlineproject.me
  4. 4. MARKET OVERVIEW ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Most popular brands on social media during Ramadan Source: TOP – theonlineproject.me Food ■ Saudi by far generated the most mentions on almost all brands. In the food category, differences across the GCC are big as shown in the below graph. ■ Sadia is most mentioned in UAE and Kraft in Kuwait. ■ In Saudi, Maggi received the highest percentage of mentions followed by Almarai. Maggie topped the chart as it was recommended for many of the recipes that circulated on social media. Drink ■ In the drink category we see that Tang is the most mentioned brand in Saudi ■ Whereas Vimto is most mentioned in UAE and it is Pepsi in Kuwait.
  5. 5. MARKET OVERVIEW ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Most popular brands on social media during Ramadan Source: Arabian Business Telecommunications ■ There is no one single telecom company present across all of the GCC countries. ■ Zain is active in three markets: Kuwait, Saudi and Bahrain. Zain is most mentioned in Saudi followed by Kuwait and Bahrain.
  6. 6. MARKET OVERVIEW ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Industry experts’ comments on key trends during Ramadan Source: The National, Daily Finance “During the Holy Month, we find that on average, stock returns are almost nine times higher in predominantly Muslim countries than during other times of the year,” finance professor Ahman Etebari “Programming for the Ramadan month is specifically made for the huge audiences that watch it. Soap operas [and other] types of programming are very, very popular”, Riz Khan, broadcast journalist Rising Purchasing Power ■ The holiday also means special foods. Increase in the market for halal-certified foods has soared in the past decade. ■ An estimated 80% growth in the market for halal-certified ingredients and food products since 2005 during the Ramadan month ■ Ramadan also brings with it new clothing and special entertainment, with television scheduling very much geared around that A Time to Buy ■ Ramadan ends with Eid Al Fitr, a celebration of feasts and gift-giving. This brings major sales opportunities for retailers. ■ Social media impacts the buying choices of many shoppers during this season. It was witnessed in the past that many users visit Twitter to find Ramadan special shopping deals that are advertised
  7. 7. MARKET OVERVIEW ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Why Social Media is vital during Ramadan Source: Gulf Business ■ Viewership traditionally doubles during Ramadan, with special drama shows and soap operas proving particularly popular. This has not gone unnoticed by canny advertisers. ■ According to the Pan Arab Research Center (PARC), it is not uncommon for companies in the region to spend a third or more of their advertising budget over Ramadan. ■ Ipsos MediaCT recently reported that smartphone penetration rose by at least 11 percentage points in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) between 2012 and 2013. Saudi Arabia leads the way with 79%, followed by the UAE with 72% ■ Increasingly and intriguingly, this means that real-time, context-aware technologies move to the fore as operators strive to unlock the true value of LTE. ■ A number of enticing developments for the benefit both service provider and consumer could follow, including better network utilisation and a far richer, more personalised user-experience. ■ With a dynamic, context-aware, intelligent network delivering a wide range of differentiated services, the interaction with events like Ramadan – and life in general – could be dramatically and positively transformed. Television viewership Outlook While the tradition and rituals of Ramadan remain the same, the way in which Muslims young and old are engaging over the observance period is gaining a distinctly modern day edge. ■ Ramadan is already inherently sociable, so with more time to spend online and an intensified focus on family near and far, the spike makes sense. Judging by findings in the latest Arab Social Media Report, the trend is only going to continue ■ In addition to social media’s pervasive influence, developers have been busy creating Ramadan tie-in apps to aid planning, coordination, education, health guidance and so on. ■ On Google Play, top Islamic apps such as the multi-functional Muslim Pro and Salatuk (Prayer Time) already command installs in their millions. These can be particularly beneficial to Muslims abroad looking to be in sync with the Arab world. Social Media usage
  8. 8. MARKET OVERVIEW ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Examples of Ramadan campaigns Source: DM3 Institute ■ Another successful, and original, campaign was the Toyota Hilux “Spreading Goodness in Ramadan” campaign in Saudi Arabia. ■ 15000 Loads were uploaded on Facebook, sales increased by 11 % and there was a 23% increase in test drives during this period. ■ Toyota filled 300,000 miniature Hilux trucks with dates and water that were distributed in the Kingdom around traffic lights before Iftar during the entire Holy month of Ramadan. Participants who uploaded a picture of the truck on social media and got the longest trail had the chance to win their load in actual quantity from a real Hilux ■ Samsung noticed a peak in purchasing behaviour especially at the end of Ramadan. Their “Share your Ramadan Moments with Us” campaign was successful because they included the social aspect of Ramadan. ■ Samsung created an emotional link with the consumers and positioned their products as an enabler to enhance their Ramadan moments. ■ How did they do that? They first encouraged their consumers to share their moments on a dedicated microsite. They motivated the consumer by giving a chance to win a Samsung product. They listened to what has been shared and when Ramadan started they based their communication on what they had heard and gave consumers solutions to their needs. They created a dedicated application and added a charity aspect by donating a portion of their sales during the Holy month. ■ The Pepsi Arabia campaign, based on the a similar “Share your Moments” concept, was not as successful. They asked their consumers to share 20-second movies to get a chance to be part of an larger movie opportunity, where they would be the star. ■ Why didn’t it work? First, the campaign mechanism was complicated as it required a series of steps asking the consumer to jump from one platform to another. Secondly, the value was intangible as the consumer was given a chance to be a star in a movie that will be released at the end of Ramadan. And finally there was no charity aspect of the campaign.
  9. 9. MARKET OVERVIEW ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Approach for companies during Ramadan Source: Go Gulf It’s not the budget, it’s the approach that counts ■ Studies indicate that those brands that integrate their marketing campaigns to include social media along with traditional media tend to benefit greatly during Ramadan. ■ Engagement rates tend to be organic during the Holy month. This means no matter what a company’s budget is, it’s the right content push that counts It’s important to follow the trend ■ The trend during Ramadan when it comes to social media consumption is towards spiritual needs, charity endeavours and entertainment. ■ Businesses that want to attract more brand engagement during the Holy month should push content that’s in line with the trend It’s important to be linguistically realistic ■ Language matters; 74% of total tweets generated during Ramadan 2014 were in Arabic ■ Arabic should therefore be the language of promotional content during the Holy month Social media channels to watch out ■ Businesses in the Arab world should watch out for social medial channels in this region, as these tend to be used more during Ramadan ■ Activity timings may differ – for example, on Suhoor channel, peak traffic is before dawn Business communication with social media users ■ During Ramadan, social media activity tends to be relaxed, friendly and conversational ■ People tend to have more time to engage in brand-related conversations, with more preference given to text chats than hashtags or links. Businesses are advised to follow suit, join conversations to increase brand engagement.
  10. 10. MARKET OVERVIEW ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Recommendations for Ramadan 2015 Ramadan is a unique time in the Arab world both online and offline. Consequently, what brands know about their community’s behaviour during much of the year may not apply during the Holy Month as peak activity times are likely to move and engagement to increase. Therefore, observe and take note of trends happening within your communities this Ramadan in order to align your publishing times with your audience and maximize engagement next year ■ Optimize your content mix: MENA user interests shift during the Holy Month. Adapt your content accordingly to stay relevant and build stronger relationships ■ Increase post/tweet advertising support budgets in Ramadan: as organic engagement rates increase, your advertising dollars will push content even further to reach out to more people ■ Launch integrated marketing campaigns: social media usage increase in-line with TV, radio, and print consumption. Integrated campaigns deliver higher multiplier effects in Ramadan. ■ Changes in activity timings: Some of the social media changes during Ramadan include a shift in posting times and in customizing their content according to fan interests and tastes. Capturing the attention of your audience when they are most online promises a positive ripple effect Source: TOP – theonlineproject.me

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